by Ernie Andreoli ’18
Ten students from Providence College applied to receive a Fulbright Scholarship this year. A candidate qualifies if he or she is an undergraduate senior or has graduated within five years at the time of application, and Jennifer Dorn ’18 was the only PC senior to receive this prestigious award in 2018. While Dorn stood outside of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this past weekend, she discussed how thrilled she is to be a Fulbright recipient. “It is going to be fun and gives me opportunities to be creative,” exclaimed Dorn.
As a theater arts and English double major from Dallas, Texas, Dorn has a passion for the performing arts and has participated in theater for 14 years. This past weekend, she attended the Institute for Theater Journalism and Advocacy, a workshop sponsored by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. After qualifying for this workshop, Dorn had the opportunity to refine her skills in journalism, specifically theater criticism.
In addition to improving her analytical and writing skills, Dorn was fortunate enough to meet well-known theater professionals and critics, such as Sarah Kaufman, a dance critic for the Washington Post and the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
According to Dr. Darra Mulderry, an associate professor of history at Providence College and the director of national and international fellowships for PC’s Center for Engaged Learning, the most difficult part of the application process is preparing a personal statement and a statement of purpose—each only one page long. “Jen was the first prospective applicant to approach me for this year’s scholarship,” noted Mulderry. “I wanted to do something different after graduation,” stated Dorn. She explained that she was looking for opportunities to teach and/or travel following her undergraduate years.
Dorn explained that after speaking with Dr. Mulderry, she went to an informational session on campus during the spring of her junior year. Beginning in the summer, she went onto the Fulbright’s scholarship site and searched through prospective countries. While working in the admissions office as a summer assistant Dorn began writing drafts of her statements.
“The process included a great deal of writing, revising, editing, and also making sure that each word would culturally translate,” noted Dorn. She was initially interested in diving deeper into an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) role in Latvia or Greece. However, the Czech Republic became a perfect fit because of her interest in the country’s cultural history. “I have always wanted to travel to the country because of the rich artistic and sociopolitical forces at play,” stated Dorn. She also revealed that the first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, was a humanitarian deeply involved in the performing arts. She submitted her application last October, and received the scholarship on March 23.
Dorn explained that she will be assisting with English instruction for about 20 hours per week for 10 months in a track secondary school in Zábřeh, a town in the Olomouc region of the eastern portion of the country. “This opportunity will give me time to read, write, and do what I love,” exclaimed Dorn.
In addition to teaching English, she will also be a cultural ambassador for the United States in the Czech Republic. For the Fulbright Scholarship, the education level where students are placed depends solely on the country. “Jen was placed in a secondary education setting, because the country desired one at that level,” explained Mulderry. Coincidentally, the school where Dorn will be teaching English has a drama club. “I am playing around with the idea of pursuing a career in theater and arts education in the future,” acknowledged Dorn. She was also accepted to Teach For America this year, and will be an elementary instructor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for two years beginning in 2019.
The scholarship offers fully funded living expenses for 10 months. Beyond this, Dorn will be a part of the Fulbright network, an extremely tight-knight community, for the rest of her life. The scholarship has been funded by United States State Department since 1946, and hopes to promote cultural awareness as well as build cultural bridges between countries.
Because the program requires learnedness and preparation for cultural ambassadorship, a bachelor’s degree is required for all applicants. Students interested in the Fulbright experience should contact Dr. Mulderry. Those who hope to become a Fulbright scholar immediately after graduation should start their applications early in the summer before the start of their senior year.